begin with ‘j’ words…


446. judgement, jealousy,  justification… mine to own, my sinful nature to recognize, mine to gain freedom from. Naming them, and asking God to forgive. Again. Often. Again.

447. finding a jewel beside the bench by the lake, recognizing the metaphor in the single cubic zirconia in a cheap, rusted setting… seeing myself as tarnished, vintage, yet priceless in God’s sight.

448. that behind the heavy lowness of grey clouds, vapour that we cannot grasp or touch or break through often for weeks at a time, there is a glory of sun and warmth and potential for growth, within a vast blue of sky. That this is a season of waiting, perseverance, rest… and more.

449. wind crisp against my face, icing my skin, and the rush glow in my cheeks when I get back inside the warmth, teens and dog welcoming me home.

450. steam rising from a cup of hot coffee with milk and sugar, the warmth expanding.

451. son asking how my walk was.

452. that God can be found outside the walls of the church.

453. son studying hard for his finals.

453. daughter kissing me.

454. finding there is unity in marriage and creating new ways to get there.

455. deer nibbling shoots on orchard trees… following their tracks along my street.

456. iris poking up out of the snow as the mercury announces the possibility of Spring.

457. open mics, music and poetry… blessing God for creativity in all its forms.

458. the profound simplicity of my husbands words, “just breathe.”

459. telling God everything. Yelling sometimes.

460. remembering the naming of the gifts. Re-visiting this way of gratefulness.

461. that this world and these people are wonderland, the fullness of God’s glory, the echo of his voice, that my eyes become dull and my heart crusted over and my ears deaf, and I need to take time to remember all he has given.

That confession and turning is the restart button… that God’s grace is always waiting… and action always follows.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Lesley-Anne

Vintage Disney Posters

Vintage Disney Posters (Photo credit: cattias.photos)

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Sunday Soliloquy


Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in exhibition game at...

Image via Wikipedia

Lou Gehrig – Farewell to Baseball Address

Delivered on 4 July 1939, New York

Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn’t consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day?

Sure I’m lucky.

Who wouldn’t consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball’s greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy?

Sure I’m lucky.

When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift – that’s something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies — that’s something.

When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter — that’s something.

When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body — it’s a blessing.

When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed — that’s the finest I know.

So, I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for.

Keep calm and carry on.


KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

Image by hockadilly via Flickr

A word misunderstood, a glance in the wrong direction, downcast eyes, silence. Suddenly what began as a new week, fresh with energy and focus and potential, crumbles. And all before 9 AM.

Doors slam. Voices rise. Eyes fill with tears. Peace is broken.

Why is it so easy to go here, when you desire and strive for the opposite. Why is the family fraught with arguments, disagreements, conflict? This place of refuge and rest, our home, is anything but this morning. After I drive those blessed children of ours to school,  I retreat to my corner, my chores, my thoughts, my own set of tears, and pray that God will make a change.

God make a change in me. Is it me, Lord? What is this ever changing role of mother supposed to look like in your eyes?

Am I trying to control too much? Am I not entitled to an opinion? Have I not sacrificed much, loved much, given much, to be allowed to speak into their lives? And it’s not about complicated things… it’s about hair products, the type of music one might learn at guitar lessons, meeting deadlines for applications. It’s about emptying and filling the dishwasher. It’s about being respectful and polite and loving in one’s tone of voice. These are not biggies… to me… but to them, they are the mountains worth fighting for. Why?

They are growing up and away. I understand that, for the most part. They are testing their boundaries. I understand that too. All the years of investing… infant, toddler, little children, pre-teens… all to bring us to this new place called ‘young adulthood’… just as it should be. We have been preparing them to go. That’s easier said than done. Sometimes, in the words of a dear friend,  it feels like you are trying to cram everything you can into them while you still have a chance! And at the same time, I’ve grown older, more tired, perhaps even a little worn out?

I need a faith injection, Lord! I need your wisdom, clarity, energy, and a huge outpouring of your love, to allow me to love them lavishly! As they so deserve and require of me.

God knows. God is here in the middle of it with me. I don’t know what I’d do without him here. Sit on the kitchen floor and cry while the dog licks my tears and wonders what’s wrong with mama? (Hey, wait a minute, I just did that!)

Even so, I get up and turn on worship music, I turn my thoughts heavenward and ask again for the strength and resilience of God’s spirit, that will enable me to get off the floor and carry on. Deep breaths. Inhale faith. Exhale despair. Inhale peace. Exhale entitlement. Inhale grace. Inhale more of God’s grace. For me, for them.

Forgive me, Lord for losing my patience with your precious kids. Forgive me for not being a very loving mother this morning. Forgive me for causing them pain, for sending them out feeling sad and misunderstood. Forgive me for not inviting you into the situation then, rather than waiting until now. Please walk with me Lord, because I cannot bear to walk alone.

Keep calm and carry on… yes, I will do just that.

Peace, out.

Lesley-Anne

Dear Lord, I do not ask to see the path. In darkness, in anguish and in fear, I will hang on tightly to your hand, and I will close my eyes, so that you know how much trust I place in you, Spouse of my soul.

– Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hesselblad

The “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster was initially produced by the Ministry of Information[2] in 1939 during the beginning of World War II. It was intended to be distributed in order to strengthen morale in the event of a wartime disaster. Two-and-a-half million copies were printed, although the poster was distributed only in limited numbers.[3] The designer of the poster is not known.

I might just be falling in like…


Emmy is getting to me. It’s not just her nose kisses, or the way she follows me around like I’m the most important person in the her world, more the way she’s filling in the vacancy in my heart left by my Buddy. Completely different to him, not trying to walk in his footsteps (muddy pawprints, I mean) she’s just Emmy. Bob and I sit on the porch in the evening and marvel at her energy, where just a few days ago we cringed. We have taken to inviting her up on the couch in the evening and onto our bed partway through the night. Emmy is learning a lot of new things, and being the incredibly intelligent breed that she is, it seems too easy sometimes.

Call me crazy, but I’ve been praying about Emmy and us. I believe God cares about all the details of my life… even the dog. So, I asked him to help me, to let me see some improvement (or not) in Emmy that would help my decision making process and get me off the fence of indecision. God works in mysterious ways, as they say, and I’ve found that listening to various experts and applying knowledge and paying attention and seeing success is God’s way of saying, “This is going to be OK. Really!”

For example, after watching ‘The Dog Whisperer’ the other night, I decided to use Cesar’s techniques to teach Emmy some boundaries and respect at our front door. I took command of the space in front of the closed door first, then standing up straight with my chest puffed out, head upright, and a serious ‘Cesar-esque’ look on my face, I opened the door and Emmy… didn’t bolt!!! So, I promptly exited said door and stood on the front landing, and Emmy… didn’t bolt! She laid down and looked at me. Then I called her to me and told her to sit, and she did and Emmy… didn’t bolt! This is the same dog that we’ve been holding back from the front door since day one, the same dog that has bolted on several occasions across the road into our senior neighbour’s yard. Too good to be true, I’m thinking. But I continued to do this same routine with Emmy several more times yesterday and again today and Emmy… stayed put!!!

If you’ve never watched Cesar Milan and witnessed his techniques of dog rehabilitation and obedience training, you should. He is a miracle worker in the dog world. He can fix any dog, any problem… and most problems (interestingly enough) are with the dog owners lack of being a strong pack leader! And after my success with being the boss at the front door, it appears that some of Cesar’s miracles can be recreated at home, despite the disclaimer on his show stating, “Do not attempt these techniques without a professional trainer.”

So, with some successful bike rides apres Emmy, some bonding times, crate training for ‘zooloo times’, stronger leadership, and some indication that she is beginning to fit into the rhythm of our lives, I find my heart softening and I might just be falling in like with her. And I’m OK with that.

Now I really should email all the wonderful local dog training people whose shoulders I’ve cried on, to explain where I’m at now with Emmy. Sounds like I’ve almost made up my mind… on the cutie who is asleep at my feet while I sit in my favourite writing chair and write. A perfect moment the fulfills my vision of my life with dog. Dog as companion, dog as added value to a balanced family life.

Perhaps not so ‘ruff’ after all. Thank you Cesar. Thank you God.

Lesley-Anne

Endings and beginnings


There’s so much to say, yet in honesty I lack the inspiration to write. A dullness persists. I’ve had a few tough weeks, and trying to move forward is tough. But, I’m determined to do so. I begin with a click of the mouse and the keyboard sings out a few words. It’s a start.

First, here’s everything in a nutshell;

My dog Buddy died (of cancer, age 10).

My desire to write died (of grief, lack of focus, energy, age 5).

My Uncle Dave died (of cancer, age 70).

I lose and gain ground daily.

I determine to meet with God, clear the air, find some closure.

God meets me.

God reminds me.

God defines me.

I begin again.

Presenting Emmy… the new addition to our family… 2-1/2 year old GSP (German Shorthaired Pointer) from a background of neglect… skinny, no manners, but brimming over with joy and with a completely open heart to all of us.

A tangible reminder of beginnings, although you know me well enough to realize that I’m not just talking about new dogs… we have the opportunity and potential to begin in many new ways every day, as God’s mercies are fresh every morning.

Here’s what I’m taking with me as I step into what’s next in the broader sense;

Hope,

God,

relationships,

an expectant heart,

thankfulness.

In the immortal words of Dr. Seuss,

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

Was that just a spasm?


“God is not looking for spasms of passion, but for hearts of endurance.” …are thirteen words that are resounding in my mind since yesterday’s service at my home church Trinity, in Kelowna, B.C. These words originated with International Justice Mission Founder Gary Haugen, pertaining to the work of the IJM organization in third world countries, where they continue to save bond and sexual slaves from lives of despair and torment. IJM delivers hope in a big way.

Yesterday at church, we celebrated the accomplishments of a small team of middle school youth who raised $151,000.00 for IJM. My 14 year old son Malcolm was one of them. And each one of those kids, led by their youth leader Simon, model hearts of endurance to all of us. They set their goals way high, they ignored the impossible nature of it (even though some of us parents thought otherwise), and they worked at one task at a time, one yard maintenance job at at time, one sacrifice at a time, until they reached their goal. And because of their endurance, 151 slaves are now free. WOW!

The question begs to be asked… what kind of heart do I have? Even after all the excuses are set aside, after the exceptions are made, the justifications considered, whatever, is my heart enduring with the love of God? Am I living a life that puts his desires first? Well, am I?

Not easy to take that kind of look at yourself.

Turns out I need to make some adjustments to how I’m currently living out my faith. Turns out I’ve been growing weary of doing good and even giving up on some things. Turns out I’ve been guilty of spasms in some areas.

Creativity and passion and big picture thinking can be a problem sometimes. My husband and I often have conversations that involve dreaming about this thing and that thing and painting wonderful word pictures around certain topics. We expouse on  possibilities a lot… that’s how God made us. We like to envision things. It gets us excited, revved up, inspired. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a problem if that’s all it is. It can be a problem if it’s all about starting things and not finishing them, or about giving up when the energy wains and the inspiration grows tired. That’s why the heart of endurance has to be there.

I believe that a heart of endurance comes from God himself. Only God can give me the sense of purpose and the deep inner conviction that allows me to continue to walk forward in the face of adversity, weariness, circumstances, lack. There’s just so much more at stake than how I feel.

So, I must take time out to look at the things I’ve been less than excited about lately. And find out why. And then, with God’s help, make the adjustments necessary to finish well what I have begun.

Still on the path,

Lesley-Anne